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DDN: WSU settles for nearly $2 million with feds over student aid issues

Graduattion

Excerpt from the Dayton Daily News

An audit released by the state on Thursday revealed a nearly $2 million settlement between Wright State University and the U.S. Department of Education and sheds more light on the school’s financial troubles and ongoing investigations.

On Nov. 1, Wright State agreed to pay more than $1.98 million for issues stemming from a routine 2015 federal review of the school’s handling of federal student aid, according to the audit.

The federal review looked at how WSU handled student aid administered under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, which includes Pell Grants, federal work study, federal Perkins loans and a number of other programs, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The issues questioned in the review occurred during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years, according to the audit.

Wright State was unable to provide documentation showing that all the students it administered federal aid to actually attended classes prior to withdrawing from the university, according to WSU.

“We paid $2 million back because of funds we could not prove were appropriately disbursed,” said spokesman Seth Bauguess.

Since then, the university has “taken action to secure data for all students who begin classes at WSU” to ensure financial aid programs comply with federal law, officials said in a prepared statement. The settlement has already been paid and Bauguess said the university is remedying the problem by trying to get professors and instructors to regularly take attendance in classes.

Wright State’s certification for administering Title IV federal aid expired in March and the school has had to get month-to-month approval since then, according to the audit. The month-to-month approval is “just a formality until the program review process is closed,” WSU officials said in a prepared statement.